214. Target Building

214. Target Building: Pulling Targets Along the Wall (1 minute and 53 seconds)
Matt Bischoff, Historian III 

Hello! I am Matt Bischoff, Historian for California State Parks, and I want to make sure that we protect the buildings that represent the important military history that took place here at Fort Ord.

In this area, soldiers pulled and marked targets. Once firing was complete, targets would be pulled down and marked with a spotting disc, then hoisted up again. If the shooter missed the target completely, a large tattered white cloth would be raised, known as Maggie’s Drawers, this resulted in certain ridicule for the soldier on the firing line.

The concrete wall you see before you formerly extended across the width of the entire range, several hundred feet to the north of where it ends now. Soldiers would be arrayed all along this wall, pulling targets.

According to one soldier who trained here in the 1950s: 

Pulling targets was the only good job on the beach ranges as we were in the pits below the ground level and out of the wind… the weather on the beach ranges was particularly disagreeable in the damp early morning fog and late afternoons when a cold breeze off the ocean blew directly in our faces, whirling up sand, burning eyes and fouling rifles.”

Targets were housed in large warehouses in the range area, and then transported to smaller range buildings such as this one. Targets were generally canvas set in a wood frame. Each soldier had to rotate through various positions while on the range, including “pulling targets.” Generally, there were between 30-40 soldiers on each range at one time, constantly cycling through until the unit completed its time on the range.